The United States men’s national team suffered a heavy 5-1 loss to Colombia in an international friendly on Saturday, extinguishing any momentum as they prepare for the upcoming Copa America.

The match played in front of a largely pro-Colombian crowd in Landover, Maryland, saw the US struggle defensively. They also failed to capitalize on attacking opportunities.

La Tricolor took control of the match early, with Arias pouncing on a defensive error to score within six minutes. The US almost responded immediately, but Folarin Balogun’s shot was cleared off the line. Just 13 minutes later, Borre doubled Colombia‘s lead with an acrobatic bicycle kick that slipped past goalkeeper Matt Turner.

Despite the early setbacks, the Stars and Stripes showed flashes of promise, with their European-based squad creating some chances. However, their efforts were marred by defensive lapses and a lack of quality in the final third. To make matters worse, Gio Reyna, starting in midfield, struggled to make an impact.

The US cut the deficit to 2-1 early in the second half, thanks to a well-taken goal by Tim Weah. For a moment, it seemed like a comeback might be possible.

However, defensive errors continued to plague the team. Richard Rios restored Colombia’s two-goal lead in the 77th minute, followed by goals from Jorge Carrascal and Luis Sinisterra in quick succession, sealing the emphatic victory for Colombia.

Matt Turner reacting to the result against Colombia
Matt Turner reacting to the result against Colombia

Matt Turner reacting to the result against Colombia

Post-match reflections

After the match, USMNT goalkeeper Matt Turner expressed his disappointment, stating, “I think everybody needs to look in the mirror after that game. It’s really, really disappointing in front of such a great crowd, so I want to apologize to the fans as well. Because that’s not what we’re about. And yeah, we need to bounce back in a big way.”

The team faces a daunting task ahead with another friendly against five-time World Cup champion Brazil on Wednesday in Orlando, Florida. Historically, Gregg Berhalter’s side has struggled against the Seleção, with a record of just one win and 18 defeats. To make matters worse, they also have 11 consecutive losses since their sole victory in 1998.

Coach Berhalter is using the high-profile friendlies to learn more about his squad and fine-tune strategies ahead of the Copa America, which begins on June 21 against Bolivia. Notably, Berhalter substituted key players like Christian Pulisic, Tim Ream, and Weston McKennie during the match to manage their minutes and avoid injury.

The US struggled without Sergiño Dest, whose absence was felt in both defense and attack. The team lacked balance in their build-up play and seemed disjointed, particularly when dealing with Colombia’s counterattacks. Antonee Robinson, in particular, found it challenging to handle the overloads on his side of the field.

What’s next for USMNT?

While Saturday’s loss was a significant setback, it also served as a critical learning experience. As Tim Weah stated post-match, “Obviously, it’s a learning experience for all of the boys and myself tonight. But I’m ready to go again. I’m ready to face another good opponent. I’m ready to bounce back.”

The upcoming match against Brazil offers the American national team another opportunity to test themselves against top-tier competition. Berhalter and his squad will need to address the defensive mistakes and improve their overall cohesiveness if they hope to make a deep run in the Copa America.

With the tournament fast approaching, there is little time to dwell on this defeat. Instead, the focus must be on learning from these challenges and refining their approach to avoid similar outcomes in future matches.

Photo credit: IMAGO / Icon Sportswire